2023 WBC: Mexico’s Patrick Sandoval Credits Austin Barnes For Success Against Team USA

The highly-anticipated World Baseball Classic matchup between Team USA and Mexico turned into a lopsided affair as Joey Meneses belted two home runs and finished with a game-high five RBI.

Although the United States lineup has been touted as one of the more vaunted groups in the international tournament, they were largely held in check by the battery of Patrick Sandoval and Austin Barnes. The southpaw allowed just one run and two hits over his three innings of work in the 11-5 win for Team Mexico.

“Give all credit in the world to Austin Barnes behind the plate,” Sandoval said after the game. “Helped me tremendously going over the scouting report and executing the game plan for three innings and getting through that lineup with only one run.

“All the praise in the world to him. And just happy to be there with my teammates. And again, the energy that these guys play with, it’s incredible.”

That Sandoval would recognize Barnes for his work behind the plate is nothing short of unexpected. Barnes is regarded as one of the better defensive catchers in baseball, and has the trust of Clayton Kershaw in addition to the entire Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

Along with guiding the Team Mexico pitching staff through the game, Barnes went 1-for-4 with one run scored, one walk and two stolen bases. He briefly appeared to exchange pleasantries with Will Smith, who did not show such interest in conversing with Randy Arozarena to begin the game.

Why is Austin Barnes on Team Mexico WBC roster?

Barnes has ties to Mexico through his mother’s side of the family, which includes former Major Leaguer and uncle Mike Gallego.

“My grandparents on my mom’s side were born in Mexico before they came over here. I grew up on that side of the Mexican culture, so it would be fun to represent them,” Barnes said before the WBC began.

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